Turquoise Puddles

Peyto Lake (pronounced pee-toh) is a turquoise pee pool for the gods not far from Banff, Alberta Canada. That is one way to look at it. Or it appears to be one of a series of small waterholes around which millions of trees and rocks gather for group photos each day.

Fortunately, Canada wisely kept out of this valley the commercial and residential developers, thus sparing visitors to Bow Summit the disappointment of staring out at hotels and cabins scattered over the pristine landscape below and out there. Many shades of turquoise, green and blue make appearances as the sun and clouds move over the mountains. Peyto can be missed as one travels between Jasper and Banff, because its access road is relatively obscure. However, many travellers do manage to discover this gem indentation in the Waputik Range, supplied with glacier water by Peyto Creek. (Again, beware summer peak crowds).

I consider this lake to be one of the three must-experience watersheds (and there are others if circumstances permit) on the Banff grid -- Lake Peyto, Lake Louise, and Moraine Lake. The weather is cool and very changeable. The valley floor scoops up whatever the weather provides and offers a daily ration of newly digested minerals (especially "rock flower") and colors to nature's palette.

The lake drains water from Caldron Lake and Peyto Glacier (part of the Wapta Icefield). Peyto Lake is the origin of the Mistaya River which flows northwest.

The lake was named for Bill Peyto, an early trail guide and trapper in the area. Ebenezer ("Bill") Peyto was English (Kent) and immigrated to Canada in 1887. He gained employment as a railway labourer in the Rockies and built a small log cabin close to the Bow River. In the 1890s he enlisted in the Boer War in South Africa but returned and became a park warden in the Banff National Park from 1913 until retirement in 1936. He also served in the the First World War where he suffered a leg wound.

Roughly 40 km south of Peyto Lake, Lake Louise is the small town named after the most well-known lake in all of Canada. The rocky eastern shore of the lake within Banff National Park of Canada is dominated by the enormous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel. The place was named after the Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848–1939), the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, and the wife of John Campbell, the 9th Duke of Argyll, who was the Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883. And now you also have a clue where the name of the province - Alberta - came from.